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Podcasts to make your holidays even better

Best part of the KUOW break room? Besides occasional celebrity appearances? Or leftover cookies made by the talented bakers in the office?

The podcast recommendations.

They flow almost as constantly as coffee 'round here and we thought, as you head into a peak travel time, you might need them more than ever. Here's what some KUOW staffers have been listening to lately:

74 Seconds

Reason to listen:"This is the future of podcasting for public radio stations (I hope). Rigorous local journalism from MPR. Creative, at times heart-stopping, storytelling. Quick execution. Wow."—Brendan Sweeney, managing producer

Don't miss episode: “3: The Traffic Stop.”

The Daily

Reason to listen:"This team at the New York Times performs a daily miracle: giving people who hunger for more news the texture and insight they crave. 20 tight, well-structured minutes, five days a week." —Carolyn Adolph, co-host Prime(d)

"You will want to listen every day." —Posey Gruener, producer, Prime(d)

The Dirtbag Diaries

Reason to listen: "Are you sitting in a cubicle right now dreaming of mountains? The Dirtbag Diaries is the perfect listen for weekend warriors. Host Fitz Cahall brings stories of adventure seekers, but not just those seeking an adrenaline rush. Dirtbag Diaries always finds the human story in the wildest of places." —Matt Martin, KUOW podcast producer

"Moments of joy, discovery and adventure in the outdoors. Oh, and a goat named LeeRoy." —Kara McDermott, web producer

Don't miss episode: "081" (Matt's pick), “Paul’s Boots” (Kara's pick)

Dirty John

Reason to listen: "A horrifying story reported by the Los Angeles Times that ultimately proves how little protection women have from violent partners But you've probably already listened to it as they've had more than 7 million downloads." —Jenna Montgomery, director, digital media

Heaven’s Gate

Reason to listen: "What made 39 people join a UFO-based cult and commit suicide? This podcast helps you understand the why and the how. Told in their own voices and the voices of their loved ones with the amazing storytelling of Glenn Washington, you’ll be hooked." —Amina Al-Sadi, producer, The Record

Don't miss episode: Start at episode one and just keep going

Making Oprah

Reason to listen: "This limited run series from WBEZ in Chicago is an incisive, utterly delightful examination of how the Oprah Winfrey Show became a cultural phenomenon. I was not into her show so much, even though it was basically omnipresent throughout my childhood in Chicago. Even so, nearly every single episode of this podcast made me literally weep with joy. In the first episode, Oprah herself doesn't show up until like halfway through. I started clapping when she did because the host did such a great job building up to that moment." —Jeannie Yandel, editor, The Record

Seeing White

A wonderfully crafted series from Scene on Radio, investigating how the construction of whiteness in America was as deliberate as any of our founding principles. John Biewen tackles the history behind the assumptions and privileges white people in America experience. Stop what you’re doing and listen. —Caroline Chamberlain, podcast producer, Second Wave

Don't miss episode:“Turning the Lens”

Sooo Many White Guys

Reason to listen: "Host Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens) is sooo funny. She interviews artists who mostly aren’t white guys, but every season she’ll interview one token white guy. The interviews get deep, in addition to being hilarious. And Phoebe’s BFF Ilana Glazer is the executive producer and a regular sidekick on the show. I just want to hang out with them all day." —Jenny Asarnow, senior producer, RadioActive Youth Media

Don't miss episode: “Phoebe and Tom Hanks Make a Biopic”


Reason to listen: "A project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, this podcast (which also airs 2 p.m. Mondays on KUOW) has been incredible this year. Host Al Letson and staff dig deep into topics American citizens need to know more about." —John O’Brien, producer, Speakers Forum

Don't miss episode: "Hate on the March"


Reason to listen: "All things queer! I love the subject matter and the storytelling style, and when I listen I feel like I’m having a BFF hangout with hosts Kathy and Tobin." —Lila Kitaeff, program producer, RadioActive Youth Media

Don't miss episode: "Return to Ring of Keys"

Revisionist History

Reason to listen: "Malcolm Gladwell deconstructs the things in the world we think we understand. Example: Bowdoin College in Maine and Vassar College in upstate New York are roughly the same size. They compete for the same students. Both have long traditions of academic excellence. But one of those schools is trying hard to close the gap between rich and poor in American society—and paying a high price for its effort. The other is making that problem worse—and reaping rewards as a result." —Ross Reynolds, executive director, Community Engagement

Don’t miss episode: “Food Fight"

You Must Remember This

Reason to listen: "Who knew that Charles Manson [who died last month] had a burning desire to be a rock star and break into Hollywood movies? You Must Remember This, hosted by Karina Longworth, takes an in-depth look at Charles Manson’s life that is both chilling and fascinating. This series came out in 2015 but I discovered it this past year." —Jim Gates, editor Second Waveand How’s Your Day

Don't miss episode: "Charles Manson’s Hollywood"